LETTER TO GOVERNOR HOGAN REGARDING CARE OF CARDIOVASCULAR PATIENTS IN MARYLAND DURING THE COVID-19 EPIDEMICClick here to read the letter in its entirety.
“Re-Booting” Cardiovascular Care in Maryland
Dear Maryland ACC Colleagues,
I hope that everyone had an enjoyable Memorial Day weekend and that we all took a moment to reflect on the ultimate sacrifice that many of our military veterans have given. Memorial Day itself was an exceptionally beautiful day.
Earlier last month, on May 6, we received the unexpected but welcome news that Governor Larry Hogan had ended the state prohibition on “elective” medical procedures in advance of initiation of his 3-phase reopening plan. This move, which was urged by Maryland ACC and other medical organizations, recognizes that all necessary health care is an “essential business” that cannot wait for the Covid-19 pandemic to end. Health systems and clinicians, at their discretion, are now free to resume all necessary medical care in accordance with state and local guidance and available health system staff and resources.
The issue now becomes, how we “re-boot” cardiovascular care in Maryland. Our ACC has given us some helpful guidance on its Covid-19 Hub. Resources include guidance from a multi-society document for re-introduction of cardiovascular procedures and tests, as well as video-podcasts featuring society presidents and another featuring ACC leaders discussing their approach. MedAxiom has started a new series on practice management through the re-opening phase. You can find the first webinar here - look for announcement of future episodes in your email inbox or ACC’s Covid-19 Hub.
ACC is also launching a new Summer Covid-19 Educational Series. This weekly series is designed to provide the health care community with actionable insights and solutions that will address key clinical and operational concerns and challenges. The first meeting is this Saturday, June 6 from 9:00AM-noon, and features a plenary address by US Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD. Go here for more information.
Patients’ fears continue to be a barrier to fulfilling ACC’s mission to “transform cardiovascular care and improve heart health”. Just 10 days ago, I took care of a patient who presented to the ER with a week of symptoms of severe bradycardia. He arrived lethargic, acidotic, and in acute renal failure. I asked him why he waited so long – his response: “This place is crawling with the virus!” Fortunately, he turned around quickly and left with a new pacemaker a few days later. Others are not so fortunate. At a case conference two weeks ago, we heard about a patient who presented 48 hours into an acute inferior MI and succumbed from acute papillary muscle rupture.
The issue of delayed cardiovascular care during the pandemic continues to receive attention in the lay press, and ACC has continued to lead in this area. Last week, top leaders of University of Maryland Medical System and Johns Hopkins published an op-ed urging Maryland patients not to delay needed care. Maryland ACC members have promoted the same message. It is up to all of us to advance the message that our clinics and hospitals are clean and safe, and that “Heart Care Can’t Wait”.
Member advocacy continues to be a major issue for ACC. Earlier in May, Maryland ACC hosted a Town Hall via Zoom which attracted nearly 50 participants. ACC Advocacy staff and MedChi CEO Gene Ransom brought us up to date on numerous advocacy issues at the state and national level, including payment reform, telemedicine, liability, and practice support from PPP and the small business loan program. Much advocacy work remains to be done in the months ahead.
In June, we will say farewell to our FITs graduating from Maryland’s three cardiovascular fellowship programs. Last year we hosted a nice send-off at an evening reception at Rye Street Tavern – we had hoped to repeat the event this year, but Covid-19 intervened. We wish all of them well as they start their careers or continue sub-specialty training in difficult and uncertain times. What is certain is that people will still need cardiovascular care, and that ACC will continue to be the professional home of all CV professionals. FITs should not forget to take the important step of becoming an FACC. ACC has never made it easier or more economical. FITs leaving the state can also reach out to me for an introduction to the ACC Governors in their destination state – they will be eager to involve you in their state chapter activities.
Finally, don’t forget to take advantage of great education content and CME available at the ACC.20/WCC Virtual Conference. All materials and CME opportunities are available for another month, through June 30. As always, please send MDACC leadership and staff your comments, questions, and suggestions to email@example.com.
Sincerely,Joseph E. Marine, MD, FACC
COVID-19 INFORMATION FROM ACC
The ACC has pulled together COVID-19 information and resources and is updating it daily. Click here for the COVID-19 Hub.
INFORMATION FOR PRIVATE PRACTICES
Click on any of these recorded webinars for up-to-date navigating various issues during this time.
Dr. Jerry Blackwell, President of MedAxiom, and Cathie Biga, CEO and President of Cardiovascular Management of Illinois, share the latest information on the COVID-19 crisis. Listen to Full Podcast.
CMS also released a Video providing answers to common questions about the Medicare telehealth services benefit. CMS is expanding this benefit on a temporary and emergency basis under the 1135 waiver authority and Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act.
Coronavirus and Your Heart: Don't Ignore Heart Symptoms
ACC CardioSmart recently published the infographic below to emphasize the importance of maintaining heart health through the epidemic. Click here for additional information.